CannaScore: Where Do the Candidates Stand on Cannabis?

CaptureMotif’s team took to the emails, the phones and even tracked down those candidates and office holders we could find in person to try to find out where they stand on the issue of legalizing cannabis so we could share that with you. Three things surprised us:

1.There was a lot more agreement than we expected that cannabis should be legalized. Although there are certainly some who disagree, the primary contention causing slow action seems to revolve around how to execute that legalization. Of course, it could also be true that the nay-sayers are not answering surveys like this.

2. It was extremely labor-intensive, involving a team of 10 callers from four different organizations working over a span of several weeks (not full time, naturally, but still a LOT of person-hours) to get the responses we got. Why were so many unwilling or unable to respond? It seems unlikely they were on summer vacation for several weeks. We got two interesting off-the-record responses to this specific question. One senator told us, “We get one or two surveys a day at this time of year. The overload just makes it hard to pay attention.” A rep told us (on condition of anonymity), “It just doesn’t really make any difference. The people we represent don’t pay that kind of attention to where their reps stand on specific issues – it’s not how we get elected, so we don’t really pay attention to communicating with the public about where we stand on most issues.” Motif will explore this issue further in our upcoming politics issue.

3. Those who did respond almost all used our free-response section of the survey to elaborate on their answers, so those who did engage mostly did so with intelligence and gusto!

Whether you should vote based on a single issue is another question to consider. Usually, the answer is no – but we know from reader surveys that there are some who would be single issue voters around this topic, and since Motif, which generally tries to avoid taking political stances (except for anti-corruption), has shown a definitive preference for cannabis legalization, we thought some readers would find these results interesting.

If you are opposed to legalization, you can simply reverse the grades – an A would become an F, a B becomes a D, C stays the same, and so forth.

Here are the legislators who responded, plus a few who answered a similar inquiry made by the ProJo a few months ago. Legislators who responded to the ProJo but not this survey are listed with asterices. That full story can be found at…

Legislators who didn’t respond yet have a standing invite to do so – results will be posted online through election day.

For full details on points and how grading was done mathematically, visit Motifri.com, where there will be links to a full website coming soon.


Questions Asked:

1. Do you support regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol? How soon?

2. Do you support allowing towns and municipalities to authorize social marijuana use at certain marijuana retail outlets (cannabis cafes), provided that they are limited to adults who are 21 or older?

3. Do you support allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes if authorized by a patient’s doctor?

4. If marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol, would you favor allowing edible marijuana products to be sold in retail outlets if they are packaged and labeled appropriately?

5. Do you favor expanding the number of licensed medical marijuana compassion centers in Rhode Island?

6. Do you favor the idea of prohibiting employers from testing job applicants for marijuana as a condition for employment, unless the drug tests are required under federal law?

7. Do you favor the idea of allowing individuals who are 21 or older to cultivate a limited number marijuana plants in their home?

8. Do you support the Rhode Island marijuana decriminalization law, which replaced criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket?


Information Collected:

Name, Office,  Incumbent or Candidate, and which district? Party and Grade

Joe Almeida
Representative
Incumbent 12
Democrat
A+

Antonio F. Avila    Capture
Representative
Not Incumbent 69
Republican
A+

Joseph Cardillo
Representative
Not Incumbent 40
Democrat
A+

Nicholas Delmenico
Representative
Not Incumbent 27
Democrat
A+

William Deware
Representative
Not Incumbent 54
Democrat
A+

Matthew James
Fecteau
Senator
Not Incumbent 8
Democrat
A+

Michael Gazdacko
Representative
Not Incumbent 9
Democrat
A+

Jonathan
Hernandez
Senator
Not Incumbent 6
Democrat
A+

Stacia Huyler
Representative
Not Incumbent 24
Republican
A+
John Lombardi
Representative
Incumbent 8
Democrat
A+

Andrew E. Maguire
Representative
Not Incumbent 59
Independent
A+

Joshua Miller
Senator
Incumbent 28
Democrat
A+

Lisa Scorpio
Representative
Not Incumbent 13
Democrat
A+

Jennifer Siciliano
Representative
Not Incumbent 22
Democrat
A+

Scott Slater
Representative
Incumbent 10
Democrat
A+

Joseph J.
Solomon Jr.
Representative
Incumbent 22
Democrat
A+

Moira Walsh
Representative
Not Incumbent 3
Democrat
A+

Edith Ajello
Representative
Incumbent 1
Democrat
A+* (didn’t answer survey but was primary sponsor of prior legalization)

Brent Barrows
Senator
Not Incumbent 22
Republican
A

Ryan Hall
Representative
Not Incumbent 28
Democrat
A

William Hunt
Representative
Not Incumbent 68
Libertarian
A

David Norton
Representative
Not Incumbent 60
Democrat
A

Thomas Palangio
Representative
Incumbent 3
Democrat
A

Victor Regino
Representative
Not Incumbent 11
Independent
A

Jonathan Vallecilla
Representative
Not Incumbent 58
Independent
A

Luis A. Vargas
Representative
Not Incumbent 12
Independent
A
David Bennett
Representative
Incumbent 20
Democrat
A*

Chris Blazejewski
Representative
Incumbent 2
Democrat
A*

Brian Newberry
Representative
Incumbent 48
Republican
A*  (consistent co-sponsor and legislative supporter)

Dominick Ruggerio
Senator
Incumbent 4
Democrat
A*  (co-sponsor of legislation last year and spoke publically in support)

Bradley Collins
Representative
Not Incumbent 46
Independent
A-

Dennis Lavallee
Senator
Not Incumbent 17
Democrat
A-

Aaron Regunberg
Representative
Incumbent 4
Democrat
A-

Gregg Amore
Representative
Incumbent 65
Democrat
B+

Andrew C. Knutton
Representative
Not Incumbent 21
Independent
B+

David Kruzona
Representative
Not Incumbent 21
Democrat
B+

Vincent Marzullo
Representative
Not Incumbent 26
Independent
B+

Lori Barden
Representative
Not Incumbent 59
Independent
B

Lauren Carson
Representative
Incumbent 75
Democrat
B

Frank Ciccone
Senator
Incumbent 7
Democrat
B

Grace Diaz
Representative
Incumbent 11
Democrat
B
Ewa Dzwierzynski
Representative
Not Incumbent 34
Democrat
B

Rob Goldman
Representative
Not Incumbent 11
Democrat
B

Laura Perez
Representative
Not Incumbent 11
Democrat
B

Mark Zaccaria
Representative
Not Incumbent 32
Republican
B

Michael McCaffrey
Senator
Incumbent 29
Democrat
B*  (co-sponsor of legislation, but no public statements)

Cale Keable
Representative
Incumbent 47
Democrat
B*  (in ProJo survey, says he “leans” towards legalization)

Harold M. Metts
Senator
Incumbent 6
Democrat
B-

Adam Satchell
Senator
Incumbent 9
Democrat
C+

Russell Hryzan
Senator
Not Incumbent 6
Independent
D

Robert Jacquard
Representative
Incumbent 17
Democrat
D*  (voted for medical marijuana in 2006; did not vote either way for decrim)

James Sheehan
Senator
Incumbent  36
Democrat
D*  (voted for medical marijuana in 2006; did not vote either way for decrim)

Jim Seveney
Senator
Not Incumbent 11
Democrat
D-

Robert Craven Sr.
Representative
Incumbent 32
Democrat
F*

Mark Gee
Senator
Incumbent 35
Republican
F*

Antonio Giarrusso
Representative
Incumbent 30
Republican
F*

Elaine Morgan
Senator
Incumbent 34
Republican
F*

Patricia Morgan
Representative
Incumbent 26
Republican
F*  (opposes legalization in ProJo survey; voted against decrim)

John Pagliarini
Senator
Incumbent 11
Republican
F*

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